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Biochemistry. 2000 May 23;39(20):6176-82.

Recognition of base mismatches in DNA by 5,6-chrysenequinone diimine complexes of rhodium(III): a proposed mechanism for preferential binding in destabilized regions of the double helix.

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Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California 91125, USA.


5,6-chrysenequinone diimine (chrysi) complexes of rhodium(III) have been shown to be versatile and specific recognition agents for mismatched base pairs in DNA. The design of these compounds was based on the hypothesis that the sterically expansive chrysi ligand, which should be too wide to readily intercalate into B-DNA, would bind preferentially in the destabilized regions of the DNA helix near base mismatches. In this work, this recognition hypothesis is comprehensively explored. Comparison of the recognition patterns of the complex [Rh(bpy)(2)(chrysi)](3+) with a nonsterically demanding analogue, [Rh(bpy)(2)(phi)](3+) (phi = 9,10-phenanthrenequinone diimine), demonstrates that the chrysi ligand does indeed disfavor binding to B-DNA and generate mismatch selectivity. Examination of mismatch recognition by [Rh(bpy)(2)(chrysi)](3+) in both constant and variable sequence contexts using photocleavage assays indicates that the recognition of base mismatches is influenced by the amount that a mismatch thermodynamically destabilizes the DNA helix. Thermodynamic binding constants for the rhodium complex at a range of mismatch sites have been determined by quantitative photocleavage titration and yield values which vary from 1 x 10(6) to 20 x 10(6) M(-)(1). These mismatch-specific binding affinities correlate with independent measurements of thermodynamic destabilization, supporting the hypothesis that helix destabilization is a factor determining the binding affinity of the metal complex for the mismatched site. Although not the only factor involved in the binding of [Rh(bpy)(2)(chrysi)](3+) to mismatch sites, a model is proposed where helix destabilization acts as the "door" which permits access of the sterically demanding intercalator to the base stack.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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